A cross-section of kids learning to code with help from their instructor
Tema, Ghana – Simon Ampah, a graduate of the University of Cape Coast co-founded Simon Mustard with his senior brother who is an IT teacher. Simon Mustard organizes the Gates Coding Club, which aims to inspire and expose 10,000 African children between the ages of five and sixteen years to coding by 2025. Simon says that as far as developing content for the digital space is concerned, Africa remains behind as he realizes that most internet users in Africa are end-users and not developers. He, therefore, co-founded Simon Mustard to help reverse this trend through the activities of the Gates Coding Club. The Club has already introduced coding to some schools as an extra-curricular activity and through its boot camp, which is organized from time to time.
The Club recently put together a 3-day coding boot camp at the Peak Lyceum School in Tema, Community 22. The event brought together about 40 children; most of whom were new to coding. The children learnt the fundamentals of coding and built their own games during the 3-day event. The also learnt about entrepreneurship and leadership from industry experts.
“I love to come to the class and write codes because when I code successfully, I can feel the achievement. This makes me happy and proud of myself,” said Essilfuaha, a participant at the boot camp.
“It’s a fun challenge,” said Hillary. “It starts off easy, but then it gets more difficult, but as you get into it, it’s kind of fun.” Hillary also said that making mistakes is part of the enjoyment.
The Gates Coding Club caters for students from primary schools through to high schools. It is the first of its kind in Ghana. Simon says the benefits of coding are enormous because it helps the kids to think logically and breakdown complex problems.
“Many parents came to us and told us, oh we finally found a coding school designed for kids.” Some parents wondered why this was a one-off event and urged the organizers to continue after the boot camp.
Simon says that is not the last time they are going to meet. They intend to have a meet up with the kids at the end of each month to build upon what they have learnt during the boot camp.
He says they put together this boot camp to help Ghanaian kids catch up with the rest of the world. He reiterated that the future of the world belonged to kids who knew how to code since coding is expected to be a basic requirement for getting into any employment position just as computer literacy is today.
He emphasized that some countries including Australia, Estonia, UK, Finland as well as some states in the United States have already added coding to the basic school curriculum and wondered why Ghana is still using precious instructional hours to teach basic office applications when that time could be better utilized on challenging coding projects.
Source: Simon Ampah, Co-Founder, Simon Mustard